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Country Place Elementary Put Fun in Their Day, the Fuel Up To Play 60 Way!

Country Place Elementary implemented Fuel Up To Play 60 this year and their kick-off was a huge hit with students! Posters announcing the program and healthy messaging were placed around the school and students were invited to play flag football and take a few shots on goal at the inflatable soccer kick during recess. After submitting a funding application, Country Place Elementary was awarded $3640 from the Dairy Council of Arizona to implement their Farm to School Play from the Fuel Up to Play 60 Play book.

“Part of the funding will be used to build a school garden which will act as an interactive tool to educate and bring awareness about where food comes from.  The goal is that our kids learn the importance of consuming foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy to get the right vitamins our body needs,” commented teacher and Fuel Up To Play 60 Program Advisor Kristina Palacios. Funding will also go toward various sports and activity equipment for use on the field and playground, as well as updating the school’s blacktop area with painted obstacles for students to hop, skip and jump their way through recess.

To learn more about Fuel Up to Play 60 and how your school may have the opportunity to be awarded up to $4000 for nutrition and physical activity plans, receive visits from Arizona Cardinals players or Big Red and have access to inflatables and field equipment for your very own kick-off event, visit  or  email .


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Honor the Harvest Thought Leader Summit

Honor-the-Harvest-2016As National Dairy Council (NDC) looked forward to a second century of evidence-based nutrition education, it became Honor-the-Harvest-Infographicevident that the definition of health and wellness was evolving to include the entire food system. Consumers now want to know where their food comes from and whether the people who raise or grow it do so ethically.  To demonstrate NDC’s leadership in sustainable food systems from farm to table, they hosted a Thought Leader Summit where more than 200 national and local health professionals from the culinary, nutrition, health and wellness and agricultural communities for immersion into the science and insights on dairy’s role from farm to table. This interactive Summit was packed with educational and application sessions ranging from scientific presentations to an agricultural experience at Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana.

Arizona was represented by four registered dietitian nutritionists that have influential positions in the nutrition field:

  • Jennifer Hernandez, MS, RD. Dietetic Internship Director, Maricopa County Department of Public Health
  • Ashlee Linares-Gaffer, MS, RDN. Assistant Professor of Practice and Dietetic Internship Coordinator, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona
  • Traci Grgich, MS, RD, SNS. Associate Professor, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Arizona State UniversitySlide-Protein and muscke
  • Carol Weekly, RD, SNS. Director of Child Nutrition, Queen Creek Unified School District

These leaders in the Arizona nutrition arena were overwhelmed with the depth of scientific information presented as they listened to the state of the science on dairy including protein, calcium, dairy fat, lactose, meal patterns, aging, blood pressure and bone health.  They also heard about sustainability, food waste and global food needs.  Presentations on the FARM program (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) and NEWtrienSlide-food wastet, an agricultural sustainability company, were new areas for dietitians as they are not typically informed about agricultural programs aimed at responsible land and animal care or sustainability and recycling of a variety of ag waste into new, usable products. We learned about several uses of manure from fertilizer to planting pots to electricity and even aviation fuel. Recycling waste from dairy farms into usable, beneficial products a win-win for the dairy farmers, the community and the planet.

But wait, there’s more…  A trip to Fair Oaks Farm in Indiana!  Fair Oaks was established in 1999 by Dr. Mike McCloskey, a veterinarian and dairy farmer, and his wife Sue, and is made up of 11 family-run dairy farms milking approximately 30,000 cows. In 2004, Fair Oaks opened the 200 acre campus to the public for tours of an interactive education center to learn about dairy farming. In addition to the modern dairy, visitors can also learn about modern pig farming and modern crop production as well.  Fair Oaks has implemented several innovative ways to managFair-Oaks-Farme manure in a way that is good for their farms, the community and the environment to “honor the harvest.”  They use manure to generate enough electricity to power the entire farming and education operations, and sell extra energy back to the grid to power 750 homes every day. They also produce compressed natural gas to fuel all the trucks and tankers used by the farm.

The Fair Oaks Farm tour was a highlight of the trip for the AZ attendees! They even were able to witness a calf birth, a first for all of our Arizona dietitians!

The Honor the Harvest Summit really helped to educate these dietitians on dairy from farm to table so theFairOaks-MilkingCarousely can now share that information with all the interns, students, clients and colleagues with whom they work.

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Featured Dairy Farm Mom: Sine Kerr

As we look forward to Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating dairy farm moms!

Sine Kerr lives in Buckeye, Arizona, with her husband Bill. We asked Sine, who is also very active in the community, about her role on the dairy.

In 1980 when Bill and I started our own herd, my role was very “hands on”.  I helped with milking and feeding the cow and calves. We also grew forage crops on our small farm and leased acreage.  I helped there too.  Bill taught me to disc fields, rake hay, and swath alfalfa in addition to managing the office work.  As our family and our farm operation grew, we added more employees and I was able to focus on raising our four children and maintaining the office and business management side of the dairy.  36 years later, I am still managing the office, but use our bookkeeper more which frees up more of my time to enjoy the all important and fun role of being a grandmother!

Sine shared with us that she has been living her dream all these years, and explained why she loves life on the dairy.

As a young girl growing up in the farming community of Buckeye, I often played with my friends at their family farms.  I grew to love the lifestyle and everything about agriculture.  I always hoped I would marry a farmer some day!  Bill and I met in high school and I was so happy to find out his family were dairy farmers!  I’ve been living my dream all these years!  There is no better way to raise your family than on a farm.  As many farm families know, there are valuable life lessons that come from the daily tasks that go along with farm life. A dependence and strong faith in God, a work ethic that doesn’t give up and gets the job done no matter what, problem salving skills like no other, and experiencing the importance of being the best stewards we can be of the animals in our care and the land we nurture for our crops.  And my greatest joy of late, is watching the pure happiness on the faces of our grandchildren as they enjoy farm life!

Happy Mother’s Day!